Tripoli Gallery in Southhamption presents “Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes” by world-renowned photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto August 27-October 21. Sugimoto uses a late 19th / early 20th century big box camera and black and white sheet film to photograph the seascapes. His traditional technique is one of the reasons gallery owner Tripoli Patterson chose to mount the exhibit.
“Whenever I try to learn something I always want to learn from the best, especially when talking about a medium that is so commonly used today with iPhones and social media. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s understanding and perception of this media is second to none,” he said.
Patterson wants “Seascapes” to be a medium through which local photographers can study their art, noting the incredibly rich detail that can be captured, with a camera that people today might consider antique.
Sugimoto began his series of seascapes in 1980. He travels to oceans, seas and lakes around the world, capturing unique details of each body of water from high cliffs, to highlight its vastness and capture its sense of mystery. The exhibit features the pieces “Mediterranean Sea, Crete” (1990), “Tyrrhenian Sea” (1990), and “Lake Superior, Cascade River” (1995-2003), among others.
At the surface the seascapes look similar, but upon close examination the viewer notices details unique to each one. “…Like a snowflake or a wave, never do you see two that are exactly the same,” said Patterson. He is particularly drawn to the white seascapes in the exhibit, whose vague horizon lines leave the viewer with little to cling to, forcing them to embrace the freeness of the water and air depicted in the photograph.
The exhibit also features “Five Elements” (2011) a sculpture based on the form of the Buddhist stupa, a hemispherical structure that contained relics of important Buddhist figures. A seascape photograph is preserved behind a glass sphere of a 6-inch high pagoda (place of worship), honoring the element from which life stems. “Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home,” said Sugimoto, in a statement describing Seascapes on his website, explaining how Buddhism inspired the works.
Sugimoto has lived in New York City since 1974. His exhibits have been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in Manhattan, MOCA in Los Angeles, and many museums worldwide. His work is in Southampton for the first time since the “Exposed” exhibit (1994-1995).